YOUR WAY OF LIFE AS A SILENT CONDEMNATION OF THOSE WHO HAVE STRAYED

One of the earliest ends of the Missionaries in 1818 had been to work for the reform of priests, especially after the ravages of the Revolution. Sixteen years later we find that this is still the case and that our communities were open to receiving priests.

It will be important for you to come to an understanding with Father Vincens on how to conduct retreats for the ecclesiastics and priests who will be coming for this purpose to your house.

The model lifestyle of the Oblate community ,and the witness they gave, was seen by some of the local priests as a silent condemnation of their own bad lifestyles.

It grieves me, but comes as no surprise, to learn that some of the neighbouring priests have changed their attitude towards you. My advice is to seem not to have noticed and to keep up the courtesies, at the same time changing nothing of what is upsetting them, in other words be ever more regular, ever more aloof from dissipation, from the style of life they have adopted; in the long run, you will win the support even of those who see in your way of life a silent condemnation of their own.

Recalling that Fr Guigues was only 29, and the youthfulness of his two companions, Eugene advised:

Remember that you have to compensate for your youthfulness, and I will venture to say your childlike appearance, with a special exterior gravity, which is not inconsistent with courtesy.

Letter to Bruno Guigues, 6 October 1834, EO VIII n 488

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One Response to YOUR WAY OF LIFE AS A SILENT CONDEMNATION OF THOSE WHO HAVE STRAYED

  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    “Your way of life as a silent condemnation of those who have strayed”. What an interesting way of putting it – I find myself struggling with it for to me they sound self-righteous. But I do not think that was the purpose of Eugene as he wrote to Bruno Guigues and so I go deeper.

    I remember what it was like when I was living a life centered on addiction; my way of being, dressing and acting was totally inappropriate for any human being. There was a part of me that recognized my own sin and brokenness – especially when I saw the goodness of others and while there were times when I thought I saw silent condemnation from some it was often what I saw through eyes of guilt and pain.

    What I do remember most though was the eyes of love of two particular people. Kay Cronin who was an Honorary Oblate of Mary Immaculate and a loving friend whose way of life was not so much a condemnation of me or my life but rather an invitation, an open embrace inviting me to be more like her. It was the same with my grandmother who loved me. Both of those women’s lives were in sharp contrast to my own, but their lives were more like invitations born out of love, like an open embrace inviting me to be more like them. That was how I wanted to become someday.

    How love changes everything. I think of those in my AA community, there was not condemnation but they did with their own way of living show me a better way to live, their message was unmistakable in how they cared for me and others. This is how I see and understand what both Eugene and Frank share this morning. For a moment I stop and run through some of the Constitutions and Rules in my mind; indeed they are the incarnation of a charism and spirituality – all of which is born out of love. This is how they lead us.

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